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Phone service is a critical part of government program delivery operations. However, any phone service can experience issues from time to time — including phone service within government.

In June, 1,000 government users on the new IBC phone system experienced a temporary phone outage due to an issue with the SaskTel server. SaskTel provides telecommunication services to businesses and organizations around the province. The Ministry of Central Services, who manages government's telecommunication contract, works closely with SaskTel to help prevent issues from happening in the future.

As a service provider, we understand these things happen from time to time, so Central Services has developed an IBC Business Continuity Guide, to help employees on the IBC phone system in the event of a future service disruption. It's important to know there are tools you can use to help you stay connected in the event of a network or power outage, or even while travelling for work.

Read on to learn about three key business continuity tools the IBC phone system offers you, that you can use to make and receive phone calls during a service disruption or when travelling:

  • Call Forwarding will send incoming calls from your desktop phone to another device (i.e. a cell phone, another landline phone).
  • Soft Client phone calls are a way to make and receive calls if you have a working internet connection and computer access during a service disruption. Consider this tool for laptop users. Employees with a desktop computer need a compatible headset to make calls using IBC Soft Client.
  • Call Me Anywhere can link your desktop phone to your work cell phone, so any incoming calls will be directed to both devices at the same time. Consider this feature for cell phone users on the go or as a tool to receive calls during service disruptions.

The issues that affected government phones this past June are only one example of a scenario that could result in a service disruption. Here are some other examples that could take place:

  • If a power outage occurs, IBC phone service may be unavailable. However, buildings with backup power systems may have continued phone service.
  • If a government IT network outage occurs, IBC phone service will still be available. The SaskTel IBC phone system operates independently of Central Services IT services.
  • If a SaskTel network outage occurs, IBC phone service may not be available.

Advance planning can make a real difference in ensuring your business can run smoothly during a service disruption. Here are some tips to help you prepare:

  • Plan: Make sure you have what you need. When the lights go out, do you or your staff have the correct equipment to switch over to an IBC business continuity tool? Is everyone in your office familiar with your phone outage procedures? Communicate your plan with staff to ensure government services can still be delivered.
  • Prepare: If you are using IBC Soft Client, do you have a pair of headphones with a built-in microphone or headset that is compatible with your computer? A headset may be compatible with your phone, but not your computer. Have you set up your IBC login credentials? Set up your password before you need it.
  • Practice: Do you know how to use the IBC Soft Client? Practice making a call and review the IBC Soft Client Quick Start guide. Run a drill or practice session so you are familiar with the business continuity tools and not using them for the first time in the event of a service disruption.